Belichick on facing Koppen: That's the way it is

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Belichick on facing Koppen: That's the way it is

Dan Koppen will likely be in the starting lineup when New England plays Denver at Gillette Stadium Sunday. You can look for him smack dab in the middle of the offensive line.

The Broncos offensive line.

It could be a strange sight for long-time Patriots fans. Koppen's NFL career was born via a 2003 New England draft selection, and he played with the team for nine seasons. He was released during final cuts this August.

Bill Belichick didn't eulogize Koppen's time with the Patriots on his Tuesday conference call. Business is business, the coach said.

"We kind of go through this every week, see players on other teams -- Ravens safety James Ihedigbo, Bills defensive lineman Mark Anderson, whoever it is -- there's players on other teams that have played for us," he noted of New England's last two opponents.

"It's a little bit unusual . . . It is but it isn't; we haven't seen Dan Koppen in another uniform, but you see plenty of other players in similar situations where that happened. That's the way it is in the NFL -- you can find it on every team throughout the league."

Patriots officially side with Brady vs. NFL by filing amicus brief

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Patriots officially side with Brady vs. NFL by filing amicus brief

Robert Kraft and the Patriots organization have been saying for a long time that they hope Tom Brady prevails in his fight with the league over Deflategate. Kraft reiterated that stance on Tuesday at the NFL's annual spring meetings.

But on Wednesday, the Patriots took their support for Brady to a different platform. The team has filed an amicus brief stating that it supports Brady and the NFLPA now that the union has filed a petition to be granted a rehearing by the Second Circuit. 

Per ESPN's Adam Schefter, it is a noteworthy move because the last time an NFL team took legal action against league was when late Raiders owner Al Davis sued the NFL. It is important to note, though, as SI.com's Michael McCann explains, that the Patriots have not actually "switched sides" in this instance. As one of 32 teams in the league, they are technically still a part of the NFL Management Council et al. v. NFL Players Association et al. With its amicus brief, however, the team is advocating for a rehearing of a case that the NFL recently won. 

Filing the brief may not necessarily have any legal impact on the case -- judges can ignore the team's opinion in its amicus brief if they so choose -- but its value may be more than simply symbolic in nature. Attorney Daniel Wallach notes that the team's amicus brief covers ground that Brady's petition for rehearing couldn't cover due to page limits. 

On the first page of the amicus brief, in the document's second footnote, the language is strong: "From the outset of this matter, the League's conduct reflects less a search for the truth than pursuit of a pre-determined result and defense of a report which, despite no direct evidence of tampering or Mr. Brady's involvement, was reiled on to impose penalties with no precedent or correlation to the alleged offense."

The Patriots have continued to update The Wells Report in Context, a website that argues the findings of the NFL's investigation into Brady that has also accumulated various reports and scientific studies that support Brady's innocence. But this amicus brief is another way for the team to show that it has its quarterback's back. 

The NFLPA filed its petition for a rehearing on Monday and now awaits a decision from the 13 judges of the Second Circuit as to whether or not they will grant Brady a rehearing.

Statistically speaking, Brady is facing long odds to be given a rehearing, but his legal team believes there's reason for optimism